eSports competitions have come a long way in the last 10 years, especially in the last 4 and is still growing strong. New genres are making huge splashes, games are being updated almost on a daily basis and new technologies are revolutionizing ways of putting on shows. With this in mind, it is almost impossible to tell what e-sports will look like in future, even in a year. But analyzing the trajectory that the competitions have been following since 2012, it is possible to have a rough idea of what the industry will look like in 2017.
Even though it has been projected that eSports will generate over $400 million by 2017, that figure could increase even faster now that some esports betting sites like DraftKings and FanDuel are joining the fray. But like many other cases, where there is an influx of money, also comes corruption. With huge amounts of cash being bet and multi-million prize pools at stake, new regulations and rules are likely to be introduced to counter match-fixing and cheating. ESL a big organizer of eSports for instance, has already introduced a drug testing policy while Unikrn a pro-gaming firm tracks players’ data to make sure that gamers are not throwing matches.
Ownership of media rights
Media rights of the NFL or FA earn those federations, billions of dollars every season. That is mainly because ESPN, CBS, and Fox have to pay huge amounts of cash so as to air those games live. Esports organizations on the other hand have not valued media rights in the same capacity. Content rights have not been the main focus for publishers, because the generated content often serves as free marketing tools for their games. But as revenues grow, this may change in 2017.
Even lifelong traditional sports enthusiasts cannot turn a blind on this phenomenon that is obviously shaping the gaming industry. Various studies have estimated that the e-sports market will reach $0.5B by the end of 2017.Viewership of electronic sports is expected to grow from around 20 million to hundreds of millions. These appealing numbers to stakeholders in the industry obviously show that the industry will continue to surge, but what exactly will happen content and substance wise? Will team based games still facilitate tournament and league structures? Researchers have indicated that the sector is in a dire need of a new entrant who will figure out how to develop authentic esports first games and take a considerable market share. Will this happen in 2017? Hopefully it will.
On the other hand the business environment is expected to expand significantly along similar tracks to traditional sports: Star gamers will ink lucrative endorsement deals, various projects dedicated solemnly to eSports will kick off, game publishers will invest more in the field while more broadcasting networks will jump to get a share of the increased attention.
Viewership is expected to increase to about 200 million viewers by the end of 2017.One of the main reasons for this, is the newfound love in western countries. Audiences that were traditionally allergic to eSports are beginning to warm up to them. The IEM is also consistently looking for new markets worldwide. Mexico, Philippines and Latin America are also potential future eSports destinations. Overall, eSports competitions will continue to grow to greater heights as technology evolves, eSports will also continue its mutation and growth.